CNNMoney: Android phones in the real world not so good

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Should you hop on the Android bandwagon? Be wary,” Jonathan Blum reports for CNNMoney.com.

Here’s what I’ve learned deploying Android phones throughout my business.

Lesson #1: Unless you’re careful, too much software brings Android to its knees. Google made its mobile computers like any computer: They run more than one program at a time. Android phones can multitask mobile stuff like telephony, SMS and e-mail with complex apps like turn-by-turn directions, accounting packages and social networking tools. Initially, all this Android worked well. But as our demos wore on and we loaded more apps, installed more contacts and sent more e-mail — that is, as we did more real business — all these programs running at once stressed the phones’ limited processors and memory. Performance began to lag. And I mean, lag… Google says it is not responsible for how third-party apps perform on its phones, and it stands behind the performance of Android in its factory configuration.

MacDailyNews Take: In other words: Android’s multitasking-done-wrong is a selling point, not something for which Google claims responsibility or stands behind.

Lesson #2: Relying on voice recognition for business tools is a no-no. Google has made great play of its new voice recognition tools, which are featured on most Android devices. And for simple business tasks — like saying “Dial Steve” in a quiet office — the system brings a hip, gee-whiz factor to your business day. But take an Android phone out into the real world — say, in a car trying to get to a pitch meeting — and the voice recognition falls flat. In more than six months of testing this service in noisy vehicles, across many phones, we couldn’t get it to work even once… Google maintains that its voice recognition software is stable and opens its device to many new uses. But a company spokeswoman acknowledged that it’s also ‘a work in progress’ and will evolve.

MacDailyNews Take: Perpetual beta; Google’s specialty.

Lesson #3: Assume that you, your employees and your customers won’t be able to read much on an Android phone. I’m sorry, but this one is really a black eye for Google: Without exception, every Android device we touched relies on tiny type — like 4 points or smaller — to display data on ludicrously crowded text-oriented user interfaces and menus. I am blessed with decent vision, but many of my employees are not. Certain functions — system controls, advanced search, shopping for apps on the Andriod Market — required reading glasses, very bright lights and even a magnifying glass from time to time.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, who needs to be able to read a text-heavy UI designed – patent infringement issues notwithstanding – by a search engine / advertising company? Maybe you Android sufferers can attached one of those cool little green Android keychains to your magnifying glasses?

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Wingsy” for the heads up.]

22 Comments

  1. Oh God. Here we go again. Verizon is the best thing since sliced bread…. until Verizon effs up.. .then it’ll be some other carrier.

    I deal with Verizon for phone, tv and Internet. They’re not exactly customer friendly.

  2. “and the voice recognition falls flat. In more than six months of testing this service in noisy vehicles, across many phones, we couldn’t get it to work even once”

    For the record, I use the iPhone’s voice recognition (legally) in a 20-year-old noisy vehicle all the time. It works great!

  3. iPhone competitive history is following a scenario eerily similar to the iPod, and about to be reprised in the iPad. One leader, superior from the start, and a rapidly moving target, sucks all the air out of the room, while the crowd of me-too copiers, claiming to compete with Apple, scrabble around fighting each other for the scraps, with mediocre devices.

  4. It can do things an iPhone can’t, but it lacks what makes the iPhone great.

    Don’t know any Android users. Maybe because we have multiple carriers and no Verizon here in Europe. And who buys the copy if the original is the same price?

  5. Why should Google give a monkey’s about how Android performs on third-party hardware? It’s “open”, and that’s all that matters. Enjoy your customer support won’t you, Android users.

    Multitasking done badly might as well be no mulittasking at all.

  6. Verizon reliability in my area is actually falling. Too many times it is: “Can’t hear me now”

    ATT used to be worse, but a friend of mine finally got an iPhone and is very happy with his voice and data service. I am considering the change.

  7. I’ve seen a lot if iPhone hate out there right now, and the posters claim their friends are moving to Android (from what I can tell, not from iPhone, but as their first ‘smartphone’ – since we know BB isn’t smart).

    One of their biggest complaints is the “openness” of Android, but we know that’s not really true. Do you really want all of your data to belong to the Googleplex?

    Deep down, Android is for boys. Tech boys. My guess is the name even turns the fairer sex off. Cold. Metallic. Robotic. Maybe someday, they will be a worthy adversary to the iPhone, but remember, Apple is skating to where the puck will be, not where it is today.

  8. “Google says it is not responsible for how third-party apps perform on its phones, and it stands behind the performance of Android in its factory configuration.”

    And THAT, my friends, is WHY you CONTROL your third-party apps with an IRON HAND

  9. Other Steve – Ditto, well almost. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> I can use voice on mine too, in a car with the windows down and kids in the back seat. Just works. Also just works in a noisy restaurant.

    Another thing. I saw a review of the Droid Incredible. One of the newest Android phones, here:

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/19/droid-incredible-review

    Scroll down to see a sample video they made. Good quality. But, as they panned around you could see the jerkiness start to set in, even in the lower resolution mode. So I tested my iPhone with the same kind of movement. Smooth as silk. No stuttering at all.

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